• Dessert

Coconut Sugar Pavlova by Natalie Paull

  • 60 MINS PREP
  • |
  • 80 MINS
  • |
  • SERVES 6-8

"Pavlova was on every dessert table I saw as a kid and I was always first in line holding up a hopeful plate for a big slice from the adults. I’m grown up now so I get to make it for gatherings (or a half size at home). Passionfruit encapsulates sunny summer sparkle in fruit form but, I also love it with raspberries and strawberries and in winter, ruby poached quinces.


My version is inspired by the complexity of coconut sugar – bringing a deep, malted savoury flavour and tilting it from basic vanilla towards tropical. It’s messy, scoopable and billowy and full of tang."


- Natalie Paull

Coconut Sugar Pavlova by Natalie Paull


  • 160 g egg white (from approx. 7 eggs)
  • 2 g cream of tartar
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 60 g coconut sugar (buy the granules, not solid like palm sugar)
  • 4 g cornflour
  • 4 g white wine vinegar
  • 4 g vanilla paste
  • 2 g fine sea salt
  • 100g passionfruit pulp
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 80 g yolks (from approx. 2 eggs)
  • A tiny pinch of salt flakes
  • 400 g cream (35–45% milk fat)
  • 150 g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 5-6 passionfruit
  • coconut flakes, toasted (optional)


  1. Heat your oven to 180°C, fan on. Lightly spray a flat 30 cm x 40 cm baking sheet with cooking oil spray, then lay a piece of baking paper on the tray, to cover the entire surface. Don’t spray again.
  2. Put the egg white and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on speed 8 (under high) for 3–5 minutes. Once the whites have changed from foamy to stiff and white, start adding the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, over 3 minutes to make a very shiny and very rigid meringue. If the sugar starts to spray out towards the end of adding, for each addition, turn the mix down low to add the last amounts of sugar then return to a high-speed whip.
  3. While the whites whip, weigh the coconut sugar and set aside. Weigh the cornflour, vinegar, vanilla, and salt together in another small bowl. Mix with a plastic spatula to make a creamy paste and set aside.
  4. When all the caster sugar has been added, turn the speed down to speed 2 (low) and add the coconut sugar. Whip for 10 seconds. Then add the cornflour paste and whip for another 10 seconds. Take the bowl off the mixer and push the meringue off the whisk. Give it a final and thorough mix with a plastic spatula so the colour is uniform with no white streaks. Don’t worry about undissolved coconut sugar granules – these will melt, turning your pav a uniform malty brown colour.
  5. Scrape the mix out onto the prepared baking sheet into a domed oval. Using a swirly, gentle motion with an offset spatula, smooth the top dome to a flat-topped oval and sides. At home, I use my hands to swirl it, getting a little Demi Moore Ghost on it. Maintain height and keep the oval widths approx.. 15 cm x 10 cm. Pavlovas expand when baking and deflate when cooling so if you make it too wide and flat, it will be even wider and flatter at serving. Place the pavlova in the oven and immediately reduce the heat setting to 120ºC. Bake for 90 minutes until a light poke of the crust feels like a crunchy pillow. If using coconut flakes for the topping, these can catch a ride with the pavlova on a separate tray and shelf and toast to pale brown. Just put them in in the last 20 minutes of pavlova time. Turn the oven off, keep the door slightly ajar and allow to cool completely, preferably overnight.
  6. Next day, make the curd by weighing all the ingredients in a small non-reactive saucepan. Heat, over a medium-high heat, whisking constantly at a slow tempo, until the curd thickens and the path of the whisk leaves a clear trail on the saucepans base. Remove from the heat, scrape into a small bowl or container and stir occasionally to prevent a thick skin forming Or chef trick: press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface.
  7. To assemble, whip the cream and yoghurt to billowy soft peak. Keep chilled. Slice a few passionfruit into quarters with a sharp serrated knife and set aside. Pulp the rest.
  8. Moving pavlovas is one of the most nerve shattering tasks but here’s my top tip: Spray a metal tart tin base with cooking oil spray. Holding onto the paper under the pavlova, push the tin base between the paper and the pavlova – around half way underneath. Then hover the baking sheet over your serving plate and push/shimmy/slide (with confidence) the pavlova off the paper/baking sheet and onto the serving plate. If any sides fall off during this operation, lay them back against the sides. The top cream can hold them in place later. Rough edges don’t worry me on a pavlova – they go unnoticed once cutting commences.
  9. Pile the yoghurt cream on top and smooth to just reach the edge all the way around. If a few sides pieces have fallen off, affix then with a dab of cream (no-one’s gonna know). Relaxedly spoon the passionfruit curd over the cream. Then position the passionfruit quarters. Spoon over fresh passionfruit pulp and finally a sprankle of the coconut flakes (if using). Cut delightfully large pieces and sink that spoon in!
  10. *If your oven won’t play nice with pavlova and it doesn’t form a crust, Turn the heat back up to 140ºC and bake for another 30. If it breaks, gently re-form the shape with kind hands and put the topping on. If it’s a real bust, make Eton mess – that perennial saviour of wonky meringues!